Through the Looking Glass: Adding a Reflective Component to a Collaborative Project — Sherri Darver, St. Mark's School of Texas, United States

  • Pedagogical Approaches (2011-12)

While Dewey (1933), happily standing on the shoulders of great teachers such as Aristotle, Plato and Confucius, considered reflection as an essential step in developing higher order thinking skills, it is the work of Bandura (1977) that influenced this action research study into how boys learn from each other. Bandura believes that interpersonal interaction can bring about greater reflection, which in turn develops a climate of sharing and leads to deeper thinking on a subject. Reflection is an important part of any feedback system, and this is nowhere more true than in a learning environment.

The author’s reflection on her practice led her to ask: “Could integrating reflective practice into coursework help boys appreciate learning from each other, as well as helping to understand themselves as learners?” She decided to add a reflective aspect to her Year 4 Science lessons to determine if her nine and ten-year-old boys could gain an appreciation of themselves and others as learners, by collaborating on a Science project.

The boys were assigned a partner for their project, and through four reflective experiences data were gathered and analysed to create a picture of how the boys interacted as they worked together on various stages of their research project.